ABDULLAHI MAHMUD AHMAD
The proliferation of Boko Haram as they are popularly known can be traced to the year 2002 till date based in north-eastern Nigeria and also operating in Chad, Niger and Nothern Cameroon with headquarters major in Sambisa forest, Gwoza, and Marte respectively. The group was spearheaded by Muhammad yusuf till he was executed on 30th July 2009. He was succeeded by Abubakar Shekau until August 2016 where Abu Musab Al-Barnawi took over till date.
After its inception, Boko Haram’s increasing radicalism led to a violent uprising in July 2009 when its leader was shortly executed. The striking resurgence, following a mass prison break in September 2010, was followed by increasingly deadly attacks, primarily against soft targets, and escalated in 2011 to include suicide bombings of police buildings and the United Nations office in Abuja among the rest of deadly attacks.
Internally displaced persons (IDP’s)are people that are forced to flee from their houses but remain within their countries borders. The sophisticated series of attacks by Boko Haram lead about (1,434,149) displaced according to International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) team as at December,2015 and still counting. The horror is unbearable concentrated majorly in the outskirts of Borno and Local governments mentioned earlier as men had to sleep in rooftops for days without food except for the fortunate ones that were opportune to eat raw food, some were hiding in the rocks eating berries which quickly finished leading them to eating leaves, men also had to apply make-up and wear long Hijab (women’s robe) in order to disguise because the Boko Haram spared women and children as they mercilessly slaughter the men.
These IDP’S are given camps to stay which is a commendable effort of the government but their duty nevertheless. As expected of the nigerian nature, these camps were left without proper medical care, sanitation, and other basic human necessities. The IDP’S defecate in open fields close to them making them prone to diseases. This is such a pity as displaced persons are not properly taken care of by the government.
Several media publications had reported rising hunger in IDPs’ camps, which according to some reports gathered, was allegedly caused by camp officials who divert food items meant for feeding malnourished displaced persons; an allegation described by officials of the Borno state government as fallacious and unfounded. In a publication of the Daily Trust on Sunday newspaper edition of July 17, 2016; an ambulance belonging to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Borno state was intercepted by members of the Civilian JTF guarding the gate of the IDP camp at Arabic Teachers’ College (ATC) Maiduguri. The Civilian JTF members received a tip-off from some displaced persons in the camp that the ambulance was carrying stolen goods. The ambulance was discovered to be carrying 36 bags of rice.
The displaced persons at the ATC camp in Maiduguri would never insinuate that the use of an ambulance is to steal their bags of rice . It was a camouflage , perhaps, to deceive the displaced persons at the camp that the ambulance was conveying a patient to the hospital for medical treatment since ambulances are conventionally meant for transporting persons in need of emergency medical attention, not rice.
The alarming aspect of the saga is that Children of age less than 18 constitute 58% of the IDP population and more than half of them are 5 years old or younger, for averagely two years and counting. These are fellow human beings that God created equal to us or even higher in His sight, nevertheless, they are neglected and left to rust and decay physically and psychologically.
To save the souls of displaced persons from malnutrition, hunger, disease and psychological instability, there is no alternative to making the entire northeast region of Nigeria that was once under the full control of insurgents safer by completely defeating Boko Haram and ending the war against insurgency so that displaced persons can return to their homes currently, nevertheless, some are returning to their abode gradually. Camps located in flood-plain areas of cities should be moved to safe locations. Government officials within and outside of displaced persons’ camps should be human and stop converting items meant for displaced persons in to their own personal use. We as concerned citizens should try and support Nigerian troops to completely defeat and wipe out insurgency from the country even if it is by cooperating so that government and individuals would devote their time, energy and resources to tackling other critical challenges facing nation to witness a greener and peacefull Nigeria.